Biofuels are growing at an explosive pace. Especially in Brazil, where output of sugar-cane ethanol has increased almost 10% per year since 2000. No suprise, given the high price of oil.
Markets like this one have powerful effects. We’ve all read about the threat of rising food prices, for instance, as food crops are diverted to fuel production (though in Brazil the price of sugar has actually crashed amid the boom: see “Brazil ethanol sector fears ‘delirious’ growth”).
But the market also provides a powerful incentive to innovate. This morning MIT Technology Review is running a quick take of mine on one sign of the ethanol innovation boom: research espousing the growth-enhancing benefits of magnetic fields. See “Can Magnets Boost Ethanol Production?”
2 thoughts on “Can Magnets Save Ethanol?”
Actually, over the last decade, the growth of ethanol production has been larger in both absolute and relative terms in the US than in Brazil.
Please see a chart of relative production here:
Very impressive trends indeed Tony, which goes to show not that Brazil’s ethanol market isn’t hot — as the excellent reporting by the Wall Street Journal attests — but that the U.S. ethanol market is even hotter. C-N stands corrected.